My ideas, thoughts, and experiences

Month: July 2019 (Page 2 of 4)

Unsettling the Settler

In one of our classes this week, we had the opportunity to hear Shauneen Pete speak. As my classmate Heather mentioned in her blog post, Shauneen didn’t come with any PowerPoint or slides to speak to. She shared with us a story – her story. As she mentioned at the beginning of our session, sharing stories is the basis of connection and helps us to understanding who we are engaging with.

She started her career in education wanting to make her students teaching and learning experience better than the one that she had received. Part of that, is ensuring that ALL students get exposure and learn about Indigenous content and come to terms with their own settler identity. She has bravely and courageously pushed the people around her into that uncomfortable place of learning in this particular area – unsettling the settler.

Something that she said that really resonated with me and something that I have been grappling with is the growing pressure we are putting on our local Indigenous community members. Our responsibility as allies is to do the work ourselves – do the research, read the books, have the tough conversations. And then reach out to community members for follow up discussions on things we are still struggling with. It is not their responsibility as community members to teach us the history.

I have been on this journey for a while now, and I recognize that I have a long way to go in my guilt, discomfort, and understanding in order to move more towards reconciliation. Therefore, I have collated some of the resources I have found on the topic, strong Indigenous community members and educators on social media, and some books that I have picked up recently for my continued professional development.

Teacher Resources


People to add to your PLN (#Twitter)

Bradley Baker (@bradleyrbaker): District Principal in the North Vancouver School District, 2017 Governor General of Canada’s Leadership Council Member. Proud member of the Squamish Nation

Jo Chrona (@luudisk): Curriculum Coordinator for the First Nationals Education Steering Committee (FNESC)

First Nations Education Steering Committee (@FNESC)

Senator Murray Sinclair (@SenSincmurr): Member of the Senate of Canada, retired judge, and former Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation  Commission of Canada

Reconciliation Canada (@Rec_Can): Company that was born from the vision of Chief Dr. Robert Joseph (Gwawaenuk Elder). Using the platform to lead the way in engaging Canadians in dialogue and transformative experiences that revitalize the relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.

The First Peoples Cultural Council (@_FPCC): Provincial Crown Corporation formed by the Government of BC in 1990 to administer the First Peoples Heritage, Language, and Culture Program.

Strong Nations (@strong_nations): Publisher of Indigenous books. Based in Nanaimo, B.C.

Networks of Inquiry and Indigenous Education (@noiie_bc): Voluntary, inquiry based, network of schools in British Columbia. Creators of the Spirals of Inquiry.

Indigenous Education Network (@IENatOISE): Indigenous Education Network at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

UBC Indigenous Education (@IE_UBC): Local Indigenous content and information about focused courses provided by UBC.


Reading List

Already read…

Speaking our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation by Monique Gray Smith


The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew



21 Things You Didn’t Know About the Indian Act by Bob Joseph



Price Paid by Bev Sellars



Looks Like Daylight: Voices of Indigenous Kids by Deborah Ellis



Up next…

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by DiAngelo, Dyson, and Michael



Settler: Identity and Colonialism in 21st Century Canada by Lowman and Barker



Indigenous Relations: Insights, Tips, and Suggestions to Make Reconciliation a Reality by Bob Joseph



Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer




*This post will continue to be updated as I come across new and interesting information and resources*

EDCI 515 – Assignment #2


As Mary McAtee states, “before starting any piece of research, it is important to identify clearly just what the purpose of that research is. It is only when this is done, that decisions about an appropriate methodological approach can be made” (McAteer, 2013). The researcher’s choice of research methodologies could have a large impact on all aspects of a study. Therefore, it is important to be clear on the purpose in order to choose the methodology that will produce the desired data and information. In this blog post I will first summarize the aspects of action research. I will then compare it to a quantitative research study and examine the impact to the researcher, research, researched, and reader would be if they had chosen an action research approach instead.

Overview of Action Research

Action research is vastly different from other research approaches. According to the SAGE Encyclopedia of Action Research, action research is a “type of applied research designed to find the most effective way to bring about a desired social change or to solve a practical problem, usually in collaboration with those being researched” (Coghlan & Brydon-Miller, 2019). This involves going through a process of ongoing reflection. This research approach can include quantitative and qualitative data, however, it is not the main goal or the focus of the research. The main goal of this approach is to make an improvement to personal practice, as opposed to policy. In education, this approach can be used for the information gathering about how particular schools operate, how they teach, and how students learn. But this approach is not specific to education and can be used across other fields of study.

Below are some visuals that have been used to portray the process of an action research process.

Whichever model or schematic researchers decide to use is personal choice. Each image demonstrates a “cyclical, iterative process of research where the initial focus of the research is subject to ongoing review and reflection through the repetition of plan, act, observe, and reflect” (McAteer, 2013). Also, as represented by the schematics pictured above, this type of research is complex, challenging, confusing, and rarely predictable. It is a dynamic and responsive approach to learning and can change directions through the exploration process.

Overview of Chosen Article

The chosen comparison article is called ‘Using Technology-Enhanced Inquiry Based Instruction to Foster the Development of Elementary Students’ Views on the Nature of Science’ (Schellinger et al., 2019). In this study, researchers were wanting to find ways to improve young students’ views and understandings of nature science. And were hoping that the use of an inquiry based platform and integration of technology would increase students’ engagement with the topic. Their two research questions were:

RQ1: How do elementary students view of nature of science change when they engage in a digitally supported scientific inquiry oriented curriculum that takes place in a formal and informal setting?

RQ2: Which views of nature of science are the most challenging for students to learn when they participate in a digitally supported, scientific inquiry-oriented curriculum that takes place in a formal and an informal setting?

The researchers in this particular area were using the science-based curriculum, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to identify the specific outcomes they wanted the students to demonstrate throughout this learning experience. They put together multiple choice questions that aimed at measuring the student views of nature of science and a total of 5 points was possible when all five items were combined. A contemporary score signified the best quality answer and received a one on the scale.

In a three week time span, a group of one hundred twenty-nine grade four and five students participated in three modules of scaffolded learning through an online platform called Habitat Tracker which was supplemented with a field trip to a local wildlife center. This epistemic-social approach to teaching and learning allowed students to “engage in discussion, reflection, and/or argumentation about nature of science through group interactions to form individual meaning” (McAteer, 2013).

What would happen if…?

As outlined above, the research done by Schellinger et al. (2019) is definitely quantitative in its data collection and analysis. This type of research allows for researchers to outline a specific question, set out guidelines, and measuring tools in order to track data. However, was this form of research the best way to gather this information and provide quality information to educators in the field? What would happen if the researchers had instead chosen to undertake an action research approach?

How it could change the 4 R’s of Research (Thom, J., 2019)


This study comes from the “review of 105 emperical studies published between 1992 and 2010 on the views of nature of science to point towards attending to the epistemic-social aspects of learning nature of science through inquiry as critical to changing students nature of science views” (Schellinger et al., 2019). Therefore, the research question that come as a result is: how does the use of inquiry oriented technology improve students engagement and understanding?

In comparison, the action approach to coming up with a question would be reflective of personal practice and self-identifying teaching and/or learning gaps. If the educators were starting out with a question, it would be in relation to the teaching and learning that is going on in a specific classroom(s). Following that, the researcher would then need to reflect and explore what the present situation is in the classroom and ways in which to find out and collect that data.


In this study, Jennifer Schellinger and her fellow researchers are academics at Florida State University. The data and information they are collecting is aiming to change teaching frameworks and policy for science education in order to better meet the needs of students and their developing understanding of concepts.

If this were to be an action research method instead, the researchers would be the school teachers that are looking for more effective ways to teach students the nature of science curriculum and how to improve their personal practice. This change immediately alters the direction the research would take as it needs to take into account the educators values, biases, and purpose of the information gathering. In order to follow an ethical research process, it would be beneficial for the educator group to bring in a research consultant that is well versed in the principles and practices of action research.


In the quantitative technology study, Schellinger and her colleagues collect specific data at the beginning of the program as well as at the end of the three week rotation of modules. The data gave very specific answers to whether students had increased their contemporary understanding of nature science. For some areas such as purpose of science and definitions of scientific theory the students’ contemporary understanding improved (Schellinger et al., 2019). However, in the other three areas, there wasn’t a significant change (Schellinger et al., 2019).

If the action research approach was used, researchers would be able to move through research cycles determining which platforms, programs, and teaching techniques are most effective in developing students understanding of all the components of nature science. They would not be limited to one option. However, that means that this would likely become a multi-year exploration of the best teaching practices for a well-rounded science program.


The intended audience for Schellingers’ et al.’s work was other academics in the field and gives ideas to other researchers about how to progress this learning further (e.g. look for and/or develop technologic supports that focus on a wider range of nature science concepts). In addition, the data is telling other researchers in the field that they are on the right track with the incorporation of technology as it increased student engagement through excitement, quick data analysis, and a built in learning community. This data is easy for other researchers and academics to understand, but not other educators to translate into their classrooms because there were gaps left with the insignificant data changes for three of the outcomes

On the other hand, the reader of action research data is the researcher(s) that are conducting the study because the methodology has the researcher at the center as it is a thoroughly personally reflective study. By collecting clear and detailed information, partaking in thoughtful reflections (e.g. diary) and keeping track of data as the researcher moves through the inquiry process, readers can easily track the purpose, supporting information, approaches, and changes to approaches as the learning develops. The data could be shared with interested colleagues, but it is for the purpose of personal practice improvement and not to instigate systemic change


The examination of a quantitative research study through the lens of action research highlights the advantages and challenges of both methodologies. Quantitative research requires specific types of questions, structured approaches, and data collection; action research relies heavily on the researchers’ personal values, beliefs, and biases in order to be effective. Action research, similar to mixed methods, allows for researchers to get a clearer representation of all the information through detailed reflection whereas, quantitative research is limited in its findings because some contextual information is not gathered. As evidenced by this paper, the choice of research methodologies significantly impact the 4 R’s of Research: research, researcher, researched, and reader. Therefore, these four aspects should be carefully considered when choosing an appropriate research methodology.

Class Discussion

After presenting this information to my classmates today, we discussed some of my critical thoughts, questions, and ethical dilemmas brought up by other researchers. (Nolen & Putten, 2007).

▰Was this a worthwhile study?

▰How did they choose the Habitat Tracker?

▰How would the outcome change if they created the online tool?

▰At what point does teaching become research?

▰Where does the accountability for this research lie?

▰Is the research reliable?

▰Are teachers properly trained to see the possible ethical pitfalls in such research?

▰How are the rights and freedoms of the researchers participants (the students) protected?

See information shared with classmates below.


Coghlan, D., & Brydon-Miller, M. (2019). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Action Research.

McAteer, M. (2013). Action Research in Education.

Nolen, A. L., & Putten, J. V. (2007). Action Research in Education: Addressing Gaps in Ethical Principles and Practices. Educational Researcher, 36(7), 401–407.

Schellinger, J., Mendenhall, A., Alemanne, N., Southerland, S. A., Sampson, V., & Marty, P. (2019). Using Technology-Enhanced Inquiry-Based Instruction to Foster the Development of Elementary Students’ Views on the Nature of Science. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 28(4), 341–352.

Thom J., (2019). EDCI 515: E-Research: Harnessing and Understanding Technology in        Research. July 4 lecture notes. [Course lecture].

Literature Review – What’s the purpose?

Literature Review Overview

In our EDCI 515 course this week, we were given the task to read ‘Scholars Before Researchers’ by Boote and Beile to learn more about literature reviews. Literature reviews are commonly written at the beginning of research articles as a way to share collated information on a specific topic. According to the authors, literature reviews should “advance our collective understanding, a researcher or scholar needs to understand what has been done before, the strengths and weaknesses or existing studies, and what they might mean” (Boote & Beile, 2005). In research, specifically educational research, it is challenging to communicate with the diverse audience. Therefore, authors cannot assume knowledge, methodologies, or even common problems. Because of this, the need for a thorough literature review helps to even the playing field for everyone.

However, these authors have found through personal experience, that a large percentage of literature reviews are poorly planned and written and don’t meet their expectations for appropriate and holistic reviews. Boote and Beile quote a fellow researcher in the field, suggesting that “literature reviews should meet three criteria: to present results of similar studies, to relate the present study to the ongoing dialogue on the literature, and to provide a framework for comparing the results of a study with other studies” (Creswell, 1994).  A past criteria was adapted and incorporated into a 12-item scoring rubric which can be grouped into 5 separate sections (see below).

The researchers deemed this rubric effective after they applied and analyzed doctoral dissertations and found that the mean scores across all institutions were surprisingly low. However, because of the range of outcomes, they knew it was going to be an effective tool.

Literature Review of Interest

Since my teacher education days, I have been curious and interested in inquiry based teaching. My younger siblings attended an IB PYP school in West Vancouver and it was fascinating to see their interest, engagement, and knowledge of concepts increase throughout the years (until they reached high school – but I’ll save that for another blog post). Since becoming a teacher, I have integrated inquiry methods into my classroom. The launch of the redesigned curriculum has also allowed for more inquiry and competency based teaching and learning to happen in learning spaces. I am always looking for ways to improve my teaching and build a stronger understanding of my role in an inquiry classroom.

I found an article online that reviews the literature on the role of the teacher in inquiry based classrooms. I am going to use Boote and Beile’s literature review rubric to evaluate, in my perspective, the validity of the information provided (Dobber et al., 2017). See the image below.

I found this article very thorough in its background research, clear in their inclusions and exclusions of data in their collection, and specific in their communication of the results of their findings.

How does a literature review impact the four R’s?

I can see how the inclusion of a literature review can be extremely helpful in creating a well rounded contextual understanding of a specific area of interest.

Research – As mentioned in the Boote and Beile’s article, “a thorough, sophisticated literature review is the foundation and inspiration for substantial, useful research” (2005). By including a literature review into an article, it provides researchers the opportunity to see what has already been done in the field of study and identify where gaps are in understanding. By figuring that out, the researcher then has a clearer picture of what kind of research methodology would be the best approach to target the question.

Researcher – The incorporation of a literature review will help to build the researchers background knowledge on a topic and to build their foundational understanding in order to make effective research decisions.

As referenced in our recent readings, anyone can be a researcher, as long as you follow the protocol and structure of the methodologies.

Researched – One of the benefits of a literature review is it automatically forces researchers to look for information on the topic before moving forward with their own data collection. Information has to be systematically sorted, organized, and analyzed in order to understand the specific problem and subjects to include in the research.

Reader – By including a literature review to writing, it allows the reader to have a clear understanding of the background and history of a topic and why the researcher made the choices they did. It also allows for a cyclical process for the reader of the data to initiate research into the same area where there continues to be gaps or confusion. It also provides the reader with a  clear history of where they need to check to get background information.

Personal Reflection

As I reflect on the readings and guest speakers this week, I have noted some personal growth in relation to myself as a researcher, the research, the researched, and the reader of the research.

  • All of the research methodologies have advantages and challenges. Something that George Veletsianos noted in his conversation with us this week was to remember that when we are collecting quantitative data, we  can’t forget about the humanity in the study of people. In order to have research that is well rounded and provides context, researchers should include qualitative methodologies as he does with his personal interviews (mixed methods).
  • I think the incorporation of sources outside of the academic world could provide some great insight into topics of research. Someone in class brought up a great point that one of the Inquiry books they were reading by Trevor Mackenzie had only a handful of academic sources and instead, referenced thoughts, images, and examples from blogs and social media sites online. Is there much research to integrate sources like that into academia? If so, what are the guidelines around it?
  • As I begin to learn more and more about the different methodologies, I begin to think about my approach to my classroom. As teachers we are always collection quantitative and qualitative data in order to progress and plan for what is next. These mixed methods and action research methodologies are all new to me and are providing me with ideas about how to be intentional about what I am doing with that data.
  • Honestly, my assessment has definitely declined over the last year or so. Learning about these methodologies makes me think about what data I am collecting over the year, what I am doing with it, and how am I using it to guide my practice. How can I move through the action research process with the inclusion of quantitative and qualitative components?
    • action research to determine how I can improve my teaching in order to reach my wide range of learners more effectively, without completely burning out
    • quantitative data collection for students and their understanding of topics (sent out on FreshGrade at regular intervals)
    • qualitative data collection for students and their parents in order to get insight into their developing understanding of concepts, problem solving, and collaboration
    • action research as a school to move through how we come together to build a stronger community to improve the learning for our students


Developing a PLN

As Diana Forbes mentions in her research article, “Professional Online Presence and Learning Networks: Educating for Ethical Use of Social Media”,

“In teacher education, uses of social media include the production and sharing of content, discussion, and interaction with content, and collaborative connection with other social media users” (Forbes, 2017).

Twitter is becoming an avenue for professionals to share their learning, ask questions, and develop a social network in their field of interest. Users are encouraged to use social media to understand and communicate ideas which promotes openness by making research and resources available to anybody who is interested. It is now rare to attend a workshop or conference where there isn’t a hashtag  where participants can share their experiences and moments of learning. In addition to being a place where groups can congregate and share ideas, it also allows as a ‘backchannel’ of communication with or between people (Forbes, 2017).

Although it is great being able to connect with the local educators in my relatively small school district, I have now built connections with people outside my district through various professional development opportunities. Therefore, it is great to scroll through and get inspired by what others are doing in their classrooms in their school. So often as teachers, I feel like we get stuck inside our classrooms doing the same things. Being on Twitter and other education based social media sites allows for educators to get a glimpse of what is going on in other peoples classrooms.

I hesitantly joined Twitter in November 2012 and have been using it for a variety of purposes throughout my teaching and learning journey. As I scroll back,   I notice that I started using the platform as a way to view what was happening in the field of education in my district. I liked posts, retweeted some, and commented on others –  hoping to make connections in the district I was just starting my teaching journey in.  As I have progressed in my teaching, Twitter has grown right alongside me. I started sharing more of my own content such as field trips I was going on, inquiry lessons I had tried in class, hands on activities that my students enjoyed. Through these posts, I was able to garner support and feedback from the people around me. In addition,  I was able to connect with teachers, admin, and special guests coming in and out of our district. Through following special guests, such as Janice Novakowski, I was then able to connect with people in her PLN that are interested in the same things I am doing. Something that has grown in Twitter over the last few years has been the use of weekly chats to connect with educators across the province/country/world (e.g. #edchat, #kinderchat, #edtech, etc.).

I have even noticed a difference in my use of Twitter over the last week and a half. Being a remote learner in this program was difficult at first as I am a very social person and need to connect with my peers in order to create an effective learning space for myself. Therefore, having our cohort hashtag (#tiegrad) has been amazing as it has allowed me to connect with guest speakers and  my fellow classmates, see what is going on in their specific contexts, and see how they are connecting their class learning to their areas of interest. I appreciated everyone’s feedback on Saturday morning when I was feeling especially tired and stuck in a ‘world of procrastination’.

As much as I value and appreciate Twitter for it’s sharing and community building capabilities, I am hesitant as it becomes another time sucker as I scroll through on a Sunday morning before I get out of bed. I am learning to prioritize the ways in which I want to communicate with people around me.

In addition, it adds to the confusion of developing boundaries between peoples personal and professional lives. My district administrators have seemed to find that boundary. On their Twitter accounts they are only sharing out the amazing things that educators and other administrators are doing in their buildings.  A few of them have Instagram accounts where they share more personal family and life moments. As I move into this new administration role, I appreciate seeing the balance of both – and building in boundaries in their professional and personal sharing.

The ethics of Twitter use becomes more of an issue if you are using it as an educator and are in communication with your students. As an adult, I appreciate the communication and connectivity of Twitter, especially in this program. However, if I were going to use Twitter as a way to teach students about the respectful use of social media, I would use some of the items suggested by Alec Couros and Jesse Miller – mentioned in my blog posts (hyperlinked to their names).

What about students developing personal learning networks (PLN) online? Check out this podcast episode by InnovatED Image result for apple podcast logocalled ‘Surprise: what happened when my student created her own personal learning network’ to hear first hand the student experience with developing a digital PLN. Click the podcast icon to listen and let me know your thoughts!


Finally, something that was new to me this week was Tweetdeck! I love being able to curate specific people, groups, and tweets in order to follow what is going on in that area of interest. It allows me to see a quick snapshot of what is going on in my specific areas of interest, so I am not taking up so much personal time scrolling through content. See a screenshot of mine below (10/07/2019).

However, it then spiraled me into a deep dive of Twitter to see who else is out there and grow my own PLN. Below I have curated a list of people, hashtags, and personal blogs that are constantly adding to my professional practice as a BC elementary educator and leader. Here is just a snapshot, but there are so many more! (*And sorry I have not directly linked them all there, there are just too many!*)


@_valeriei, @technolandy, @ChristineYH, @BreneBrown, @IE_UBC, @SELearningEDU, @courosa, @ereid38, @TomSchimmer, @SteveWyborney, @EdCampBCCC, @BCnumeracy, @LearningForward, @WabKinew, @FNESC, @IndigenousEdBC,  @bradleyrbaker,  @noiie_bc, @jhalbert8, @kaser_linda, @OpalSchool, @strong_nations, @trev_Mackenzie, @Usingtechbetter, @tweetsomemoore, @fayebrownlie, @TIE_BC, @akijae, @shareski, @anniekinders, jnovakowski38, @MediatedReality, @cdnedchat, @makerspaces_com, @bcedchat, @LFee17, @gcouros, @rbathursthunt, @ltnpbs (Lynne Tomlinson), @SLShortall, @JanetMHicks, @UBCmfenton, @DiscoveryEd, @chrkennedy


#edchat, #bcedchat, #kinderchat, #edtech, #EdLeaders, #FormativeAssessment, #SEL, #classroomdesign, #PLN, #inquiry


Culture of Yes by Chris Kennedy

The Principal of Change by George Couros

Trevor Mackenzie’s Blog

Inquiry Mindset by Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt

Cult of Pedagogy

The Cool Cat Teacher Blog


I hope that this list of inspiring educators allows you to spiral into developing your own Personal Learning Network!

A Conversation with Jesse Miller

In todays EDCI 568 class, we had the opportunity to have a conversation with nationally renowned lead educator on the topics of internet safety, privacy, and professionalism, Jesse Miller. He is the founder of Mediated Reality, which is an education company focusing on new media education for the different stakeholders in education.

One of the first things that he said, which I thought was very poignant, was ,

“it is detrimental, what we are doing to kids. When we compare our experience with technology with the access that students have now, is not fair” Jesse Miller (09/07/2019)

I think this is such an important message to convey to educators and other adults alike. Students only know what they are exposed to and we, as a people, have to learn how to cope with what we have been given. Therefore, we as adults need to share best practices on the topics of safety and privacy that we have learned in the process of technology development over the past decade.

Related image

In his presentation, Jesse presented the following ideas that educators need to focus on in 2019 in order to support students in their understanding of safety, privacy, and respectful use of technology.  Under each heading, I have collated questions to consider and resources geared towards K-7 educators.

In 2019 we SHOULD focus on:

I found this image and thought it would be a great one to share with Gr 4+ students as they are spending more and more time on social media accounts – where a lot of them are image based.

Find poster here.

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